President of Siemens Healthineers Asia Pacific: Digitalization the biggest trend of medical industry

By:Lu Yukun, Jiang Meiqing

The  past year was doomed to be a tumultuous year for most enterprises  around the globe. It presented a challenge that every enterprise had to  take up and decide whether to remain stuck in trouble or to turn crisis  into opportunity. The same is true for Siemens Healthineers, a leading  global medical technology company with nearly 150 years of history in  China. Elisabeth Staudinger, president of Siemens Healthineers Asia  Pacific, was interviewed by and other media, and exchanged  her views on the situation of Siemens Healthineers in China in the past  year and its prospects for the future.

Challenges and opportunities amid the pandemic

“For  me the most impressive thing last year was that, as the pandemic  unfolded in Wuhan, how the team of Siemens Healthineers really went into  to make sure the hospitals can keep running and operating, especially  our service engineers, the frontline people who helped to train people  and maintain the scanners, as well as everybody there to support them.  After receiving the demand from Wuhan on January 22, we delivered a new  CT machine from Shanghai factory to Wuhan within 24 hours, and our  engineers in Wuhan quickly completed the installation and commissioning  and put it into use. At the same time, our three production bases in  China resumed their production at the fastest speed, so as to guarantee  production capacity for the fight against the epidemic,” Elisabeth said.

When  talking about the impact of the epidemic on the business, Elisabeth  also said frankly that when the epidemic broke out last year, it was  really difficult to predict how much impact it would have on Siemens  Healthineers' business. "There are mainly two types of business  affected, namely Laboratory Diagnostics business and Point-of-Care  Diagnostics business. Due to the impact of the epidemic, the number of  patients who went to the hospital for routine examination decreased  significantly. On the other hand the epidemic also required that we have  enough capacity to ensure that the patients are diagnosed and treated  in time, which has also created many opportunities. So, on the whole,  our business also achieved good results last year. "

Although the  epidemic has brought great challenges, it has also promoted the  application of innovative solutions. "In fact, as early as in 2019, we  demonstrated the 5G remote ultrasound solution. Our 5G remote scanning  assistant can help CT scanning and ultrasound scanning. Last year the  demand for this solution was particularly urgent due to the epidemic. We  quickly transformed the original design into a deliverable product, and  now many users are using it. It is worth mentioning that this solution  is 100% developed for the Chinese market by our local R&D team. "

Of  course, this kind of remote diagnostic and treatment technology is not  only used to deal with the epidemic, but also reflects the change of  traditional diagnostic and treatment methods. In the future, there will  be more applications of remote technologies and robots, which will  promote the flow of high-quality medical resources to the third and  fourth tier cities and even rural areas, and help improve the level of  primary medical care in China.

"People everywhere yearn for  high-quality medical services. The medical resources in China's big  cities are relatively sufficient, but there are still many unmet medical  needs in rural areas, so Siemens Healthineers is also cooperating with  Chinese customers and hospitals to provide medical services in remote  areas." Elisabeth explained.

Digital medical is the biggest trend of medical industry

In  addition to remote medical care, Elisabeth believes that the biggest  trend of the medical industry is the digitalization of medical  treatment. Siemens Healthineers, which is famous for its professional  medical imaging equipment, has been increasing its investment in medical  digitalization in recent years, and is committed to promoting the  digitalization of images. This also fits in with Shanghai’s strategy of  promoting the development of its artificial intelligence industry.

Siemens Healthineers set up medical innovation center in Zhangjiang

Elisabeth  told reporters that in January 2020, Siemens Healthineers established  Siemens Healthineers Digital Technology (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. in China,  hoping to make more contributions to the "Healthy China 2030 plan"  through digital medical solutions. "Siemens Healthineers is very  optimistic about the development of artificial intelligence in China,  especially in Shanghai. For this reason, we set up this new company in  Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone, Shanghai, so as to create a larger digital  technology platform. At the same time, Siemens Healthineers is also  cooperating with Zhangjiang High Tech Park to build an open innovation  platform, and cooperating with local start-ups, multinational companies,  medical institutions and scientific research institutes to explore  digital, artificial intelligence and other technologies, so as to better  meet the needs of the Chinese market. "

"In recent years, our  team has also grown rapidly. China's R&D department has obtained  nearly 700 technical patents. In the past, our R&D mainly focused on  CT and X-ray equipment. Now we are also increasing R&D efforts in  the digital field," Elisabeth added.

"There will be many  opportunities in the field of medical imaging artificial intelligence.  Today, artificial intelligence can do better and more accurately in many  aspects," Elisabeth, to use Elisabeth’s Chinese name, told reporters.  "For example, medical imaging analysis can become easier. At present,  most of the medical image data need to be analyzed manually, but now we  can complete the daily medical image analysis through core algorithms,  deep learning and other artificial intelligence technologies, to help  doctors locate the lesions, analyze the disease, assist in diagnosis,  and greatly reduce medical misdiagnosis. "

Elisabeth attending the foundation laying ceremony of the new laboratory diagnostics factory in Shanghai in 2018

Talking  about the plan for the next five years, Elisabeth said that she was  looking forward to the new laboratory diagnostics factory being built by  Siemens Healthineers in Zhangjiang, Shanghai. This is the largest  investment of Siemens Healthineers in Shanghai in recent years. It is  expected to create 500 jobs, with a total investment of 3 billion yuan.  The foundation of the new factory in Shanghai marks the expansion of  Siemens Healthineers' existing manufacturing capacity in Shanghai,  China. "I also look forward to continuing to improve our digital  technology and capabilities in Shanghai to support our vision in  telemedicine, smart medicine, artificial intelligence, etc. Of course, I  also hope that the epidemic will end as soon as possible so that we can  travel. There are many places I want to go in China," Elisabeth said  with a smile.